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FEDERATION OF AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL SOCIETIES INC
e-BULLETIN No. 130 – 10 October 2014
Hon Editor, Dr Ruth S. Kerr
At the 2014 New South Wales Premier’s History Awards Ceremony and official launch of History Week on Friday (5 September) E/Prof Richard Waterhouse, President of the History Council of New South Wales, announced that through the generosity of the De Bortoli family (and of Darren De Bortoli in particular) the History Council is inaugurating the Deen De Bortoli Award for Applied History. Named in memory of Deen De Bortoli (1936-2003), the purpose of the Award is to encourage historians writing Australian political, social, cultural and environmental history to approach their subjects in ways that use the past to inform contemporary concerns and issues. Nomination form can be accessed on the History Council’s website:
(Source: Email from History Council of New South Wales – 23 September 2014)
The History Council has awarded the Max Kelly Award since 1997. The purpose is to encourage students and young historians in writing history from primary sources. The award is a medal and $500 cash prize. History Australia will publish the citation and have first option on publishing the paper. The paper should demonstrate excellence in addressing the subject, proficiency in use of primary sources and clarity of exposition. Nomination forms should be sent to the History Council of New South Wales, P.O. Box R1737, Royal Exchange NSW 1225 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 January 2015.
(Source: Email from History Council of New South Wales – 29 September 2014)
Australian historians have noticed that the ABC RN programs, Hindsight and Rear Vision may be discontinued in a current ABC reorganisation. Hindsight is the only program across all ABC stations that is dedicated to history and would be a severe loss if discontinued. The ABC has a charter obligation to broadcast programs that contribute to a sense of national identity and reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community. Almost 90 000 people listen to the program weekly. Its cost of production is far less than a TV documentary. It is now accessed all over the world via podcast and streaming. Thus listeners have regular access to the research output of academic and professional historians. Readers are urged to contact the Managing Director of the ABC, Mark Scott; with cc to Acting Manager Radio, David Mason, and Acting Manager RN, Deborah Levitt.
(Source: Email from History Trust South Australia – 29 September 2014)
Judge Willis finally makes it onto the world scene.
The controversial first judge of Victoria (1841-43), Judge John Walpole Willis, has finally gained the wider stage he sought. The judge sacked from Upper Canada and later Port Phillip also served in British Guiana from where he retired ill. He never gained another judgeship after Port Phillip although he fought the Colonial Office hard for years over both dismissals. Twenty of his casebooks from his Sydney and Port Phillip career were donated to the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (RHSV) when it began in 1909. They have lain there in safety, but under-used, ever since. The Hon. Paul R. Mullaly QC in his retirement wrote a book on the law in early Port Phillip and then turned his attention the Port Philip casebooks.
The RHSV has for some years pondered how to make this work of Paul Mullaly available. Finally, due to matching grants from the Edward Wilson Trust and Paul Mullaly, a new website has been built, containing original scans of the case books, the transcriptions, commentaries, full name indexes and other papers produce by Paul Mullaly, and other supporting papers by another Willis expert, Janine Rizzetti. The website was launched on 16 August by the Chief Justice of Victoria, the Hon. Marilyn Warren, in the presence of sixty people at a gala night, complete with three lectures on Willis. The website, suitable for legal and social students, legal studies students and genealogists is open for viewing at www.historyvictoria.org.au
(Source: Royal Historical Society of Victoria – Email on 3 October 2014)
A builder unearthed a vast treasure trove of 22,000 Roman coins worth up to £100,000 in November 2013. The trove of 22,000 Roman coins was found by Mr Laurence Egerton in East Devon. The hoard of copper-alloy coins is one of the largest ever found in Britain and has been dubbed Seaton Down Hoard and dates back to the 4th century. It was declared treasure at a Devon Coroner’s Inquest in early September 2014. The coins were thought to have been hidden away for safe keeping - but were never recovered.
Mr Egerton, 51, immediately reported the find in accordance with the Treasure Act 1996 (UK) to the landowner Clinton Devon Estates, Devon County Council’s County Archaeologist and the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) who informed the Coroner. The hoard was then carefully removed in its entirety by a team of archaeologists and over the past ten months the coins have been lightly cleaned and the process of identification and cataloguing has begun by experts at the British Museum, revealing an important part of Britain’s history.
According to County Archaeologist Mr Bill Horner, the Roman copper-alloy coins date back to between AD 260 and AD 348 and bear the images of Emperor Constantine, his family, co-Emperors and immediate predecessors and successors. Because of their good preservation the coins could be dated easily. The chalky soil of Devon assisted in their preservation. Buried together in an isolated pit, the lozenge shape of the hoard suggests the coins were in a fabric or leather bag which has not survived. Experts believe the coins could have been the savings of a private individual, a soldier’s wages or a commercial payment. Despite the number of coins found, the financial value, however, would not have been great, amounting to four gold coins (solidi) which would have provided the ration of two soldiers for one year or a worker’s pay for two years.
Under the Treasure Act 1996, now that the hoard has been declared Treasure by a coroner, it has to be offered to an accredited museum to acquire. The finder and landowner are normally entitled to a reward equal to the market value of the hoard, as determined by the Treasure Valuation Committee. Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum has said it would love to keep the hoard in Devon so that it can be seen by the public for the first time in over 1500 years. The museum hopes to be able to raise the necessary funds and is organizing a fundraising campaign.
(Source: Daily Mail (UK) 26 September 2014 - www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2770576/Builder-unearths-vast-treasure-trove-22-000-Roman-coins-spends-three-nights-sleeping-site-guard-hoard.html; Western Gazette 26 September 2014 - www.westerngazette.co.uk/Treasure-hunter-discovers-hoard-22-000-Roman/story-23004490-detail/story.html; Independent 27 September 2014 pp.20-21 including photographs of four coins)